It was the 200th Anniversary of the first settlers on the
Island of Sodor and to mark the occassion, the new Stout Controller had decided to allow visitors again and new engines to
join the fleet. The engines were excited. Not only were new engines coming, but some of the older ones that they knew and
loved were coming back too. One of them was Duck.
Duck had been gone from the island for some time. He was having problems
with his fittings and went to be repaired. On his return, he found it difficult to fit back in. Oliver had taken over his
branch whilst he was gone, and was most annoyed.
"I had it first," he said, "what right does Oliver have in not letting
me have it back?"
"Never mind," soothed Edward, "I'm sure Oliver will let you take it back."
But Duck was still
cross. The other engines felt sorry for Duck and wished they could help, but they had all the new engines to look after. They
were very young and inexperienced. The Stout Controller spoke to them as they entered.
"In your sheds there are rules,"
he said, "please make sure you read them."
But the new engines were too excited to pay attention and didn't read the
rules. This made the other engines very annoyed. One of the new engines - Mavis - was sent to the Quarry. She didn't bother
reading the rules and took some trucks from the Harbour and left them in the middle of the road by the Quarry. She then left
to collect some more. This made Toby cross.
"These trucks don't belong here. We already have trucks like this in here."
Toby took the trucks away. When Mavis returned, she was furious. She hurried to all the other engines and then to the Stout
Controller, saying the same thing.
"WHO KEEPS SHUNTING MY TRUCKS??!?!!?!?! Whoever keeps shunting my trucks, STOP IT!!!"
the Stout Controller spoke severely to Mavis. He gave her a direct warning and sent her to the shed, where she remained very
"We don't appreciate that sort of harrassment," said the Stout Controller, "engines move trucks to where they
are needed. We don't need them uselessly blocking the line."
Elsewhere another new engine - Stepney - was sent to work
with Percy in the yard. He admired endlessly all the different types of wagons in the yard and praised Percy at every opportunity.
"Can I have one of your tar wagons?" Stepney asked.
Percy obliged and smiled. This engine was
obviously fascinated with his work. But then, Stepney wouldn't stop annoying him about it.
"Can I have your oil wagons,
milk wagons, cattle trucks - both US and UK types - all of your open wagons and every single brake van."
engine came to work in Thomas branch. His name was Neville. Now, as you all know, Thomas is famous for running his branch
line and over time, has had Percy, Toby, Daisy and Mavis help him out. He has his own coaches and own trucks. It took him
time to gain all these things, so it was a surprise when he drew towards Ffarquhar when he saw another, dusty, dingy track
with a sign "neville's great brnach lnie".
"What are you doing?" Thomas asked.
"im makng a branch line with everyone
in the island to fit in it," Neville said, unintelligably.
"Where's it going to cover?"
"i haven't figured that out
"Well, have you got your coaches? Your trucks? Your stations?"
"When are you going to get
"can I have yours???"
That night the engines had a meeting in the shed. They were getting quite annoyed with
the new engines. They thought them too silly and irritating.
"Mavis keeps putting useless trucks in the line," Toby
"Stepney keeps bugging me for trucks," Percy wailed.
"And Neville is copying my branch line idea!" Thomas ended.
now you might know how I'm feeling."
It was Duck.
"I am a strong tank engine, one of the most helpful on the
Island. Then what happens? I get sent to do background tasks, Emily and all the other engines go ahead of me, and now Oliver
has taken my branch."
Duck was right. The engines felt glum. But then Edward spoke up.
"Duck is right, but remember,
we were all new engines once. We blundered our way through the Island. Look at Thomas - he left a Guard behind! Henry crashed
into a train of goods. James - on your first day, you nearly caught on fire!"
"You just have
to get used to new engines trying to make a name for themselves," Edward said, "because they all look up to you and want to
emulate you. And as engines, we must help them do it."